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MBB
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I have a 5 month old female. We’ve been through one 6-wk beginner obedience class and she did fairly well. She is only crated if everyone is out which is not very often. She has access to a large back yard, she chases the cat, plays on a platform swing, has tons of toys and we play fetch daily. She has started sleeping on the bed at night. I mention this because she is worse at night. She wants to bite and gets furious if told “no”. She will then try to really bite with teeth bared and barking. I admit I’ve popped her twice as a reflex (she gets really mean). I’ve removed her from the room, crated, ignored and then gave positive feedback when she settles down but then it all starts again. If I very firmly tell her no she gets so angry that she slams her front paws and face into the mattress and then tries to rip the sheet. She is our 4th Golden between my family and my mom. We’ve never experienced anything near this level of aggression. She will throw herself around and have an all out temper tantrum. She’s also smarter than any dog we’ve ever had. I’m so frustrated because I want us to bond and I feel that our evenings (when I can spend the most time with her) get ruined because of her behavior. We plan on continuing obedience classes but would love some advice in the meantime.
 

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This isn't aggression. This is a 5 month old puppy who is being a brat. And choosing inappropriate play materials.

Puppies often get bratty at bedtime cause they are overstimulated or overtired and cannot settle down. Sounds like she isn't mature enough to not be crated at night. My 17 month old just got bedroom privileges the past like 2 weeks i think. And even she earned a night crated for being a brat. Every single dog I've had or fostered got crated at night if they cannot behave. Its harder to reward appropriate night behavior cause we're asleep most of the time. But the biting the bed is classic play shenanigans. Lana does it all the time. She bites the couch cushion when she is offering play to Gypsy and Gypsy doesnt reciprocate. So its like a "oh come on! Let's build a snowman!!!!!" We just say "nah uh. Go get a toy." Which she does and then we will engage her.

I think with practice, consistency, and time... you'll be over this bump before long. Hang in there.
 

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She isn't being aggressive, she is being a bratty puppy. Try taking her out for a fast walk when she starts behaving this way. She may just need to expend some energy.

Find a really good chew bone, or even just toys and put them in her mouth when she starts being bitey, encourage her to bite on them and praise her when she does. Be consistent doing this and she will learn to go grab a bone or toy when she wants to bite.
 

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Kristy
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I guarantee she needs more exercise and more structure than what she's getting. When I say exercise, I mean aerobic exercise that leaves her tired and panting, a good 20 - 25 minutes of playtime with another dog, off leash hiking, swimming or retrieving/chasing a soccer ball etc. You cannot wear this dog out with leash walks and tug o war in the living room. She needs release for her excess energy.

What are her days like? Do you work? Is she sleeping 8 hours overnight and 8 hours during the day while you're gone? What do you do with her in the evenings? Does she lounge with you and watch netflix? Think about her routine carefully.

Stop allowing her up on the bed, use a leash to manage her. Keep a stash of treats handy at ALL times and do obedience work with her at random times during the day. She needs to continue to be in training classes for another year or so and she needs more hard work. A young, healthy retriever is a working dog who needs some form of a job or outlet for mental as well as physical energy. She will be much better at controling her impulses if you work consistently with her for the next 2 weeks. I guarantee you will see a difference if you do daily work on this. She is a full time project at this age.
 

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I would recommend you take him to a balanced trainer someone who trains gun dogs with good references. The trainer I work with is a graduate of Ronnie Smith's Huntsmiths Apprentice program and has trained dogs since the late 90's. You will need to be open minded about the techniques that the trainer will use to correct bad behavior but unless you are willing to endure years of issues with your dog this is going to be your best option in my opinion. Oh and I am not a hunter but the basic obedience foundation is the same for gun dogs and non hunting dogs. Good luck
https://www.ronniesmithkennels.com/
 

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MBB
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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all so much. I work but I work from home. I can't give her much attention until after 4:00. I do let her in and out all day long. She has learned to ring a bell for that. We play outside with tennis balls and a basket ball in the afternoons. I spend about 10 min two times a day in training. That's about all she can handle attention wise. We do play fetch in the house as well. She has a blanket she likes for me to put over her or tie around her and she has to figure out a way to get out of it and then brings it back to me for more. We call that "playing blankie". I suspected she just needed to exercise a little more. We are in a rural area with not a lot of options for training. I'm waiting on the local person to start up the next class but I have no clue how long that could be so we are working on the training we learned. She can be such a sweet dog and I'm not giving up on her. I just don't want to do the wrong thing so that bad behaviors set in for good.
 

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Thank you all so much. I work but I work from home. I can't give her much attention until after 4:00. I do let her in and out all day long. She has learned to ring a bell for that. We play outside with tennis balls and a basket ball in the afternoons. I spend about 10 min two times a day in training. That's about all she can handle attention wise. We do play fetch in the house as well. She has a blanket she likes for me to put over her or tie around her and she has to figure out a way to get out of it and then brings it back to me for more. We call that "playing blankie". I suspected she just needed to exercise a little more. We are in a rural area with not a lot of options for training. I'm waiting on the local person to start up the next class but I have no clue how long that could be so we are working on the training we learned. She can be such a sweet dog and I'm not giving up on her. I just don't want to do the wrong thing so that bad behaviors set in for good.
What things are you training for? I think you can do more than 20 minutes a day total in training. It doesn't need to be a formal "we're doing obedience training now" either. When Lana was a puppy *cough cough still* we do random commands and learn new stuff ALL the time ESPECIALLY during play. I'm scatterbrained so I might be missing some but these are the things I can think of off the top of my head that I've worked with Lana on...
-Sit
-Down
-Stand
-Stay
-Let's Go
-Get It
-Come
-Front
-Finish
-Heel
-Bow
-Kiss
-Touch
-Up
-Off
-Get a toy!
-Find Daddy!
-Move (alternatively "Beep Beep")
-Out
-Crate
-Mount Up
-Find It
-Clean Up
-(This doesn't have a name but it's like this video...
)
-Step
-Spin
-Bring it
-Give it
-Leave it


Other ones I taught Bear but haven't taught Lana:
-Shake (cause Lana ALREADY has a thing about pawing, let's not encourage it, dang it)
-Jump through a hoop.
-Hold a biscuit on her nose (we're still a work in progress on this one)

If you like the idea of trick training, here is a good resource cause you can get titles for tricks! How cool is that?!?! I like tricks cause it helps break up the drills and it gives us more variety and fun. Nothing makes me laugh harder than when I'm stretching and she gives me a play bow (which is how we learned BOW).

Snuffle mats / Treat Balls / Treat Dispensers / Frozen Kongs / Shell Game, etc -- these would be good when settling her at night. If that makes sense. When Bear was a puppy, he was crated at 8pm on the dot with a stuffed kong and a blanket was put off the crate. When Lana was a puppy, she was crated at 8pm on the dot with an antler in our bedroom. They both would occupy their time then realize they were sleepy and pass out for the whole night. Sometimes dogs need that routine to settle down.

Like I said earlier, Lana was too preoccupied with PLAYING with her sister when we tried leaving her out at night when she was younger. If she didn't have her sister, she would 100% have gotten into some other mischief. Now at 17 months old, she gets it. First couple of nights were rough but a couple "go to sleep" or "knock it off" and a couple "I swear to god either go to sleep or you're back in the crate. I'm exhausted. Leave me alone!" and now when we go to bed, she hops up on the foot of the bed and promptly passes out.

This morning she woke me up at 3am but it was for super sweet cuddles and I legit couldn't not be mad. Who cares if I lost half my side of the bed, or that I ended up having my husband hanging off the edge of his side of the bed. I was cuddling with a sleepy, warm Lana and it was heaven. Took us 15 months to get there though. So don't beat yourself up if your 5 month old (who you've only had a couple months tops!) isn't there yet.
 

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Thank you all so much. I work but I work from home. I can't give her much attention until after 4:00. I do let her in and out all day long. She has learned to ring a bell for that. We play outside with tennis balls and a basket ball in the afternoons. I spend about 10 min two times a day in training. That's about all she can handle attention wise. We do play fetch in the house as well. She has a blanket she likes for me to put over her or tie around her and she has to figure out a way to get out of it and then brings it back to me for more. We call that "playing blankie". I suspected she just needed to exercise a little more. We are in a rural area with not a lot of options for training. I'm waiting on the local person to start up the next class but I have no clue how long that could be so we are working on the training we learned. She can be such a sweet dog and I'm not giving up on her. I just don't want to do the wrong thing so that bad behaviors set in for good.

I agree with others that what you describe is not aggression, but brattiness or perhaps just inappropriate play. I also agree with the recommendation not to let her on the bed for now - have her sleep in her crate instead, until she's a bit calmer.



I wonder if her behaviour on the bed has something to do with your "blankie" game. She may be associating your sheets/blankets with her own blanket and expecting you to do the same thing with them - i.e. tie them around her. What you describe as "slamming" her front paws onto the mattress and trying to rip the sheet sounds like play behaviour - my 3-year-old dog does something similar (he growls at the same time), and it is entirely play-related.



Another suggestion: stop using "no" as a command. It's too general and doesn't mean anything specific to the dog. Instead, use a different verbal cue to signal disapproval, and follow it with a positive command; I use "ah-ah", followed by an instruction the dog understands. For example: ah-ah, sit (if he jumps up on someone), or ah-ah, drop it (if he grabs something he shouldn't have). As soon as he hears "ah-ah" he knows he's dome something I don't like - it's a very distinctive sound and I only use it in those circumstances. And he knows I'm going to ask him to do something else instead. This approach is much more useful than "no", because it tells the dog what you want him to do.
 
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